Tag Archives: malema

South Africa – Gauteng assembly lays charges against EFF

Mail and Guardian

Charges of trespassing and intimidation have been laid against the EFF, after its members allegedly forced entry into the provincial legislature.

EFF members and their leader Julius Malema's allegedly forced entry into the legislature.

The Gauteng Legislature has laid criminal charges against members of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), the legislature said on Wednesday.

“We have opened charges of trespassing, damage to property, and intimidation,” said Hlengiwe Bhengu, acting secretary to the legislature. The case was opened in Johannesburg on Tuesday night. She said the charges related to EFF members and their leader Julius Malema’s alleged forced entry into the legislature, looting food catered for the sitting, assaulting members of the South African Police Service, throwing broken bottles at the legislature building, and vandalising legislature property.

Malema led about 2 000 red-clad members to the legislature on Tuesday to protest over the ejection of their MPLs from a sitting because they were wearing red overalls bearing slogans. Legislature speaker Ntombi Mekgwe ordered them out of the house on July 1 for wearing their overalls with “Asijiki”, which means “we do not retreat” inscribed on the back.

Bhengu said transport MEC Ismail Vadi and another person also opened criminal cases against the EFF. Police fired teargas and rubber bullets to disperse defiant EFF supporters at the legislature on Tuesday evening. Stun grenades were thrown inside the foyer of the legislature where Malema and others were refusing to move. Several people, including Malema, were injured.

Malema was hit by an object thrown from the crowd. EFF national co-ordinator Mpho Ramakatsa came out of the legislature limping and media liaison officer Lerato Motsa was hit on the leg.

Shot at and fell on the ground
Motsa said Malema was not badly injured and he managed to whisk away a member who was shot at and fell on the ground. “The commander-in-chief is fine,” she said.

Party supporters allegedly looted hawkers’ stalls, burnt a mobile police satellite station, and broke windows of several shops on their way to Braamfontein, where they assembled in the morning.

On their way to the legislature, they defied police by refusing to turn right into De Villiers Street, and continued straight on to Rissik Street facing oncoming traffic. On arrival they broke through the police cordon and stormed into the building. They vowed not to leave until their MPLs were allowed back into the legislature. – Sapa M&G

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South Africa – dissent in the EFF and Malema’s fear of ANC moles

Mail and Guardian

Julius Malema’s paranoid side hints at something foreboding for his and our futures. For everyone’s sake, he should deal better with EFF dissent.

http://cdn.mg.co.za/crop/content/images/2014/02/11/malemafebruaryinterview_landscape.jpg/676×380/

EFF leader Julius Malema. (Madelene Cronje, M&G)

I’m not a fan of moles. Besides being possibly cancerous, they’re just not as attractive as Cindy Crawford’s agents would have us believe.

But spare a thought for poor Julius Malema. Forget unsightly facial features – he has to look out for spies in his own organisation, those pesky agent provocateurs he says the ANC planted to destabilise his new party, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).

How does he know they’re there? Because he’s been one before.

“I was part of the leadership deployed to destroy [the Congrss of the People]. I was in that project and I know the tactics and I know and can see when that tendency emerges. I know how the ruling party operates,” Malema told journalists at a briefing on Thursday. “I know what tactics they use. I know the type of resources they use, I know the type of language that gets used by those who are deployed inside.”

I’m not so sure about this line of reasoning. It can be boiled down to: “I know someone is doing something wrong because I’ve done it before.” Does that not qualify as an admission of guilt? Can a leader expect to protect his reputation and be trusted in future when he was responsible for such underhanded tactics?

Then came the scary part. It’s the bit when Malema forgets the cool kid at the back of the class act and something darker creeps in.

“We know how to isolate an infiltrator,” he said. “We know how to isolate a disrupter.”

Malema was of course talking about the first rumblings of dissent within his organisation, on which the Mail & Guardian has reported.

Many of the complaints against Malema are from members of the EFF who were there from day one and are embittered about being left out of top positions. Malema’s team tells me position obsession and hunger for power is not a culture they want to encourage in the EFF, and I take that point.

But that line about “isolating infiltrators” calls to my mind heavy-handed classic Communist techniques, and the breeding of an internal culture that is short on due process.

Because what if the complaints are legitimate? How are they dealt with within the organisation, without being branded a traitor to silence unpopular complaints?

“They are being used as infiltrators to collapse the EFF, render it dysfunctional and impose the same fate as all opposition parties since 1994 that were started and led by black leadership,” said Malema. “We don’t want anyone who brings wrong tendencies in the EFF. We have no room for such people.”

Malema usually an enormously entertaining speaker. He has a range that few politicians can match. At press briefings he generally has a bit of a grinning, impish and popular tone that draws the journalists in the room to his point.

But “isolating infiltrators” reminded me of a similar moment I encountered when I first interviewed Malema, shortly after he was first elected as ANC Youth League leader in 2008. He had not yet made any of the statements that would make him a permanent feature of the South African news, but he was already drawing attention thanks to the chaotic conference that brought him to power. Expecting something of a firebrand given his previous political career, I sat down to our interview. Yet I was pleasantly surprised, as hundreds of journalists after me have been, by his maturity and understanding of the issues he faced as a leader.

During my interview, I didn’t encounter angry Malema but paranoid Malema, the same one who sees critics as moles.

He blamed President Jacob Zuma’s then court woes on “forces of darkness” within the ANC.

“They are people who move only in the night, you can’t see them,” he told me in a complete departure from the rational tone that had governed the rest of the interview. “The imperialist forces are still involved.”

We know the subsequent history. Malema fell out so badly with Zuma, he was expelled from the ruling ANC and went on to form EFF. Would he now blame Zuma’s legal cases on “forces of darkness”? Clearly not.

It’s easy to whip up conspiracy theories and the paranoid side of Malema hints at something foreboding for his and our futures. For all our sakes, I’d like to see Malema do better at dealing with the unhappiness among some in his organisation.

Verashni Pillay is an associate editor at the Mail & Guardian.

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South Africa – Malema asked to leave parliament over Marikana murder comments

Timeslive
Malema booted from parliament
19 June, 2014

Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema was asked to leave the National Assembly on Thursday night, after refusing to withdraw a remark accusing the ANC of murdering mineworkers in Marikana.

Malema made the remarks during his maiden speech on day one of the state-of-the-nation debate on Wednesday.

“I have arrived at the conclusion that the statements made by honourable Malema are unparliamentary and do not accord with the decorum of this house,” National Council of Provinces chairwoman Thandi Modise said during her ruling at the end of Thursday’s debate.

Modise said that while freedom of speech was allowed in Parliament, it was subject to limitations imposed by the constitution.

“The statement made by honourable Malema suggests that the government, which is made up of members of this House, deliberately decided to massacre people. This does not only impute improper motive, but also accused them of murder.”

Modise then asked Malema to withdraw his remarks.

Instead of withdrawing, Malema replied: “Chair, when police reduce crime you come here and say the ANC has reduced crime. When police kill people, you don’t want us to come here and say the ANC government has killed people. That is inconsistent, honourable chair.”

Modise again insisted Malema withdraw his statement.

“I’m sorry, I won’t do that,” a defiant Malema said.

Modise said she had not alternative but to ask the fiery EFF leader to “leave the house”.

Malema and his fellow EFF MPs started filing out of the house, but not before disrupting proceedings.

Several EFF MPs started switching on their mics and shouting accusations at both Modise and those in ANC benches.

“The ANC murdered people” and “you were the premier when people were killed” reverberated through the house, resulting in Modise asking ushers to escort the EFF members out of the chamber.

Malema and his fellow EFF MPs started filing out of the house, but not before disrupting proceedings. File photo
Image by: ESA ALEXANDER

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http://www.timeslive.co.za/politics/2014/06/19/malema-booted-from-parliament

South Africa – Malema says EFF will work with other parties on areas of common interest

Mail and Guardian

EFF leader Julius Malema says his party is willing to work with political parties, including the ANC and DA, on issues of common interest.

EFF leader Julius Malema said despite being small in numbers, the party planned on bringing quality debates before Parliament. (David Harrison, M&G)

 

Party leader Julius Malema has revealed that the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) will work with the ruling ANC and even vote with them on issues of common interest.

Malema told journalists in Parliament on Sunday that the EFF – which won 25 seats in the National Assembly and is the second largest opposition party in Parliament after the Democratic Alliance (DA) – would not oppose the ANC for the sake of opposition.

“We are not the DA, we don’t oppose for the sake of opposing. Even when people raise their names and say: ‘I am Gedleyihlekisa Zuma’, you say ‘hayi you are not, you are Jacob Zuma’.”

Malema said despite being small in numbers, the party planned on bringing quality debates before Parliament. “When we stand up on a matter, it will be serious, substantial issues and issues of quality. That’s what we are here for, not to parade ourselves like we are in some beauty contest.”

He said if the ANC approached the party, saying it wanted to expropriate land without compensation – one of the EFF’s key policy proposals – it would support them.

At the swearing-in ceremony on May 21, EFF MP Andile Mngxitama told the Mail & Guardian if the ANC supported them on land expropriation, the party would be willing to work with them.

“We would work with anyone on the basis of our key questions.

“We [EFF] need a two-thirds majority to amend section 25 of the Constitution, commonly known as the property clause. This is what we are here for.

“We will do everything to change the property clause, so we have the expropriation without compensation. If there is any chance that we can find each other to amend the property clause, for which we need a two-thirds majority, we will absolutely do anything,” said Mngxitama.

“If the DA comes and wants to remove Zuma, we will support them. We have no problem. If the DA says we must vote Zuma out, we are going to do that. [But] if after voting Zuma out, they say we must vote Helen Zille in, we will refuse,” said Malema.

Malema went on to label Zille a racist, saying this was one of the reasons they would not support her election.

Priorities
Malema also said the EFF would prioritise the mining sector and table a motion before Parliament to get involved in finding a lasting solution to the ongoing platinum sector strike.

The EFF would also table a motion proposing that parliamentarians not have free houses nor medical aid paid for them and should be compelled to use the public service over which they – as government – preside. Malema said this was because the EFF believed strongly that if the leadership of government was subjected to that arrangement, it would work hard to improve these areas.

In the meantime, he explained, the EFF would continue to enjoy those benefits. “For as long as that is not the law, we have no option but to continue using the available resources, which have been made available to us by Parliament,” he said.

He said: “If we come into Parliament where houses are being provided for MPs and we decide not to go and stay in those houses, it becomes wasteful expenditure because  there will be empty houses unoccupied by the members of EFF, even though the government has paid for those houses. That would be irresponsible.

“What we are saying, and a motion will be put before Parliament, is [to] sell those houses and take the money to the needy people of Khayelitsha and then let every MP buy his or her own house,” he said.

“We are saying we are ready to abandon these benefits, we are not here for benefits but for as long as they are there, we will use them because there has been allocation for such.”

Nationalisation
Malema said they were insisting that government executive should use government hospitals and schools because they would be upgraded and be of quality and that they will never be of quality unless government leadership uses them.

He said the EFF was going to force its members to use those hospitals if it were in government and had the power to improve the hospitals, for now it will not “force our members to go and die in hospitals”.

“Our commitment to EFF public representatives using public services is subject to EFF being elected into government,” said Malema.

It is no surprise that Malema – who started the nationalisation of mines debate when he was still the leader of the ANC youth league – was deployed to the mineral resources portfolio committee by the EFF. His close associate, Floyd Shivambu, was appointed as the party’s chief whip and would be its representative in the finance committee while long-time proponent of radical changes to land reform, Andile Mngxitama would serve in the rural development and land reform portfolio committee.

Malema took a swipe at Zuma’s new Cabinet for its size and competence, or lack thereof, according to him.

The EFF accused Zuma of attempting to accommodate as many of his loyalists as possible into high government life.

“South Africa has a population of 52-million people, with nine provinces which also have their own Cabinets. There is truly no need to have more than 22 individuals forming part of the Cabinet.”

‘Walking disaster’
Malema cited new Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Senzeni Zokwana who, until last week, was the president of the National Union of Mineworkers, as an example of a deployed Zuma loyalist.

“As a minister of agriculture, come on, I don’t think he has anything to offer. The man is challenged, the man is a walking disaster, it is tokenism, it is patronage by Zuma to his loyalists.

“Imagine him and Bheki Cele in agriculture, I mean, what are they going to do? Is Bheki Cele going to shoot and kill fish?”

Malema said this was indicative of a leadership crisis in the ANC.

He said Zokwana was being rewarded for having threatened to march naked on the Goodman Art Gallery against the Spear.

“Zokwana took to the platform and said ‘we are going to march naked and we were like hawu, hey we don’t want to see those things of Zokwana’. He is now rewarded for demonstrating capacity to march naked.

“So you can see this country has become a joke. You want a Cabinet position, you must threaten to march naked and you shall be given a position in government,” said Malema.

Sunday was the last day of a three-day political induction for EFF public representatives, which included the 13 members who are representing the party across the nine provincial legislatures.


South Africa – EFF-ANC clash at Malema polling station amid claims of ANC irregularities

City Press
Tempers flare at Julius Malema’s polling station
Sipho Masondo @City_Press #Elections2014
7 May 2014 8:20

Members of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and the ANC have butted heads outside the Seshego polling station where EFF leader Julius Malema is expected to cast his ballot later this morning.

The EFF accused the ANC of canvassing for votes this morning, which is prohibited by election regulations.

The ANC has set up a table distributing party T-shirts less than 100 metres from the Mponegele Primary School polling station in Seshego’s Zone 1. The EFF said the table was too close to the polling station.

EFF Limpopo coordinator and Malema’s friend, Jossie Bhutane, said “canvassing was stopped last night. I’m worried about what is happening here.”

“We can also do the same, we can bring our people here. The ANC is canvassing and distributing T-shirts and the IEC is hesitating to make a decision. It’s not a good way to start,” Bhutane said.

But the ANC eventually moved its table along by a few metres and tempers were calmed.

The ANC’s election coordinator, Thabo Moteke, said: “This is not campaigning. These people love the organisation and we have to give them T-shirts.”

The station opened promptly at 7am, with about 200 people already queuing to make their mark.

Thabo Mabe, a first-time voter who arrived at the station at 5am, said: “I could barely sleep last night. I was not there but my parents tell me they were not allowed to vote before 1994. My father urged me to vote for the ANC and I will do just that.”

Makie Letsoalo, who supports the EFF, said it was exciting to see people waking up early to exercise their right to vote.

http://www.citypress.co.za/politics/tempers-flare-julius-malemas-polling-station/

South Africa – SABC bans EFF election ad as inciting violence

BBC

South Africa row over Julius Malema election advert

Julius Malema speaks as he launches his Economic Freedom Fighters party in Johannesburg, South Africa on 11 July 2013 Julius Malema was once a close ally of President Jacob Zuma, but launched his own party in July last year

South Africa’s public broadcaster has said it refused to broadcast a campaign message from the Economic Freedom Front (EFF) as it incited violence.

The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) denied that it was banned because it came from the EFF.

The advert calls for people to “destroy e-Tolls”, a controversial new road tolling system.

The EFF, set up by ex-ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema, is contesting an election for the first time next month.

‘Unfair coverage’

Mr Malema likened the SABC’s actions to those used by the apartheid government, which censored messages with anti-government sentiment.

Who is Julius Malema?

  • Born 3 March 1981 in Limpopo province
  • Mother was domestic worker and single parent
  • Joined ANC aged nine and elected leader of its youth wing in April 2008
  • Convicted of hate speech in March 2010 and September 2011
  • Expelled from ANC in April 2012 for sowing divisions in party
  • Toured mines following the shooting of 34 miners in Marikana by police in August 2012, urging workers to make the sector “ungovernable”
  • Set up the Economic Freedom Front (EFF) party in 2013

“Once you suppress the people contesting elections it means you not ready to give us free and fair elections because unfair coverage leads to unfair elections,” he told reporters in Johannesburg.

However, SABC spokesman Kaiser Kganyago said it was to do with regulations, not politics.

“They submitted it, we looked at it, and we found that we couldn’t put it on air,” the South African Press Association news agency quotes him as saying.

“The EFF, like any other political party, signed the code of conduct with the IEC [Independent Election Commission] that says it will not incite violence…. [the advert] goes against the code.”

The SABC has reportedly written to the EFF telling them to amend the advert, but the party has refused to do so.

Earlier this month, the SABC also rejected an advert from the Democratic Alliance (DA), the country’s main opposition party, saying it used language that promoted violence and amounted to a “personal attack” against President Jacob Zuma.

But it was eventually aired after the Independent Communications Authority of SA’s (Icasa) complaints and compliance committee ruled in the party’s favour.

EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlovu said their party had also lodged an Icasa complaint.

A supporter of the leader of South African opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) which one of their posters - 16 April 2014 The DA initially had one of their adverts rejected by the SABC
ANC supporters sit by a campaign truck as people leave after listening to President Jacob Zuma delivering a speech at a rally at Umasizakhe stadium in the Eastern Cape city of Graaf-Reinet on 10 April 2014 Jacob Zuma became president five years ago

Its advert, which has been posted on YouTube, starts with a widow of one of the striking miners killed by police in August 2012 in what is called the Marikana massacre.

It is followed by a message from Mr Malema asking South Africans to vote against the “empty promises of the last 20 years”, then several slogans appear across the screen, one of which says: “Destroy e-tolls physically!”

Mr Malema was once a close ally of Mr Zuma but was expelled from the governing African National Congress (ANC) in 2012 for sowing divisions in the party.

The BBC’s Pumza Fihlani in Johannesburg says opposition parties have in the past accused the SABC of a bias towards the ANC and censoring messages, which the broadcaster denied.

However, the refusal by the SABC to air these adverts plays into that perception, our correspondents says.

After a hotly contested election campaign, South Africans go to the polls on 7 May.

It will be the first time that the ANC is contesting a general election without Nelson Mandela, its former leader and South Africa’s first democratically elected president who died at the age of 95 in December. BBC

South Africa – Malema says government must provide services

Mail and Guardian

EFF leader Julius Malema addressed a crowd of people in Mamelodi, east of Pretoria about why they need to change their vote in the upcoming elections.

EFF leader, Julius Malema, says people must change their votes if they want service delivery (Gallo)                    
EFF leader, Julius Malema, says people must change their votes if they want service delivery (Gallo)

                                   

Malema said the fact that government had no money should not be used as an excuse to not deliver services. “These roads are like this because you’re to blame,” he said.  “You have been voting for the same people.”

Malema was addressing hundreds of supporters who had gathered for the launch of the party’s elections truck. He told residents that the power was in their hands to bring change and improve their lives. There was no water, electricity, toilets or decent roads in the area.

“Government might not have money, but they [can] caterpillar trucks to flatten roads to make them usable.” He urged residents to change their votes and go with a party that would deliver. “The reason you’re here is because you keep on voting for the same people. “Change is you – change your vote,” he said.

EFF is not a non-white party

Malema called on white people to join the party to get their hands on land. “White people must join the struggle for land,” he said. “Only two percent of whites own land. If they want land, they must join EFF.”

He said the EFF was not a non-whites party, but a vanguard for the working class. “That includes the white workers,” he said. Malema was mobbed by supporters when he arrived at the sports ground. Supporters wearing red berets and T-shirts sang and danced with him.

Banks steal from the poor

He said the financial sector and banks are stealing from the poor. “We must make sure the financial sector is accountable,” he said. “They [banks] are the ones stealing from us.” Malema said banks were allowed to steal from the poor because government officials were benefiting.

He told residents that banks should not be allowed to repossess houses while an individual who was left with a year to go can’t pay. “There is no one who must loose a house. We must transform the financial sector and it must speak to the needs of our people,” he said.

“We need government-owned banks that would grant qualifying customers interest free loans. We must deliver services. Why should government be worried about making a profit?”

He said people were charged exorbitant prices for the same house even after the bank had recovered its money. – Sapa M&G

South Africa – EFF and Malema says sequestration ai ed at silencing him

City Press
Sequestration part of agenda to silence Malema – EFF
10 February 2014

Julius Malema. Picture: Elizabeth Sejake/City Press
The EFF has claimed Julius Malema’s provisional sequestration was part of an agenda to silence him.

“The SA Revenue Service continues to be used by those in the ruling party who fear to meet EFF and the CIC [commander-in-chief] in particular on the ballot,” Economic Freedom Fighters’ spokesman Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said in a statement today.

“In addition, it seeks to disqualify the most vibrant and radical representative voice of the disadvantages, fighter Julius Malema from serving in parliament.”

Earlier, the EFF leader was provisionally sequestrated by the High Court in Pretoria.

A draft order was signed and made an order of court. Reading the order into the record Judge Bill Prinsloo said: “The estate of the respondent [Malema] is placed in provisional sequestration.”

Malema and anyone else who did not want the order to be made final had until 10am on May 26 to give reasons as to why this should not happen.

His lawyer, Tumi Mokoena said Malema’s ambitions to serve in Parliament would be thwarted should a provisional sequestration order against him become final.

He would be allowed to stand as an MP, but with potential complications. Should he be elected, he would lose his seat as MP if the provisional order became final. The EFF said Malema would remain its presidential candidate in the general elections.

Before the 26 of May, CIC will challenge the provisional sequestration and if not successful, we shall appeal the decision until the highest court of the land,” said Ndlozi.

20140210-182534.jpg

http://www.citypress.co.za/politics/sequestration-part-agenda-silence-malema-eff/

South Africa – Polokwane braces for start of Malema corruption trial

Mail and Guardian
Polokwane prepares for Malema trial
17 NOV 2013 10:04 SAPA

Police aim to ensure “peace and stability” in Polokwane as Julius Malems’a corruption gets under way on Monday.

Security will be tight at the Polokwane High Court, where EFF leader Julius Malema’s corruption trial is expected to start on Monday, Limpopo police said.

Police would monitor and patrol the area in and around the court, Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said.

The city centre and Malema’s hometown of Seshego would also be monitored.

“The aim is to ensure peace and stability. No lawlessness will be tolerated and those who break the law will be arrested immediately,” said Mulaudzi.

Malema is accused of making nearly R4-million from corrupt activities.

He is out on bail of R10 000 and faces charges of fraud, corruption, money laundering, and racketeering.

His co-accused are his business associates Kagisho Dichabe, Lesiba Gwangwa, Helen Moreroa, and Makgetsi Manthata, who are out on bail of R40 000 each.

The trial is expected to run until November 29.

A night vigil would be held by Malema’s supporters at Cosmo Leisure Lodge and Conference Centre in Polokwane on Sunday.

Mulaudzi said police would also monitor the vigil.

On Monday, streets around the high court would be closed to traffic from 6am.

A supporters’ march was scheduled to take place on Monday from Oost Street down Bodenstein Street to the court. – Sapa

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South Africa – is ANC scared of Malema and EFF support among youth?

Mail and Guardian

 

The ruling party seems to be taking Economic Freedom Fighters leader’s claims of huge support among the youth seriously.

Julius Malema says he has enough followers to win the polls next year. (Oupa Nkosi, M&G)                    
Julius Malema says he has enough followers to win the polls next year. (Oupa Nkosi, M&G)

                                   

Julius Malema has declared that his party, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), is the ruling party-in-waiting, and that the election next year will affirm its popular support.

Malema has never been short on hyperbole and his claims will be treated as yet another mouthful from the former ANC youth league leader, who is not known for his modesty.

 

The launch of his party on Sunday October 13 will be a moment of reckoning for Malema because it will put to the test his unrealistic boast that the EFF has enough support to take over the running of the country after the elections.

The ANC has not publicly admitted that Malema is a threat to its support during next year’s polls, but a number of events suggest that, in reality, the ruling party is not leaving anything to chance.

The appointment of former youth league president Malusi Gigaba as the head of its elections committee indicates that the ANC is looking to win over the youth vote that Malema is relying on for his support.

The ANC has also roped in another former youth leader in Fikile Mbalula, who has been a key organiser for the party in the past but had fallen out of favour because of his failed campaign to remove Jacob Zuma as ANC president.

‘Gap in our politics’ The Independent Electoral Commission has identified that there are 12-million voters who are between the ages of 18 and 39 whose support is up for grabs by all the competing political parties.

Malema has fashioned himself as the champion of poor, unemployed young people, who he says have been betrayed by the ANC and business. But does he really have their vote?

Political analyst Steven Friedman is convinced that Malema does not really enjoy the kind of backing he claims to have.

“There is a gap in our politics to the left of the ANC,” Friedman wrote in Business Day in June.  “But Malema cannot fill it: he has no support among the poor and no sense of how to speak for people at the grass-roots level. Given this, why does the prospect of a Malema-led party get so much attention? One answer is that political journalists are entranced by him. Many middle-class people harbour deep fears that a majority-ruled South Africa cannot prosper. One aspect of this fear is the expectation that a demagogue will arise who will whip the poor into a frenzy of retribution, urging them to seize the goods of those who have what they lack. This fear is ignited whenever anyone in the ANC begins using militant language: because it runs very deep, no one bothers to ask if they really enjoy support.”

But there are signs that ANC leaders are at least thinking about him.

Malema has claimed that, in the week of his public consultation with his supporters about whether to form a party, he received a call from the top echelons of the ANC asking him to negotiate with them. He claims he rebuffed the overtures from the party that expelled him.

Panyaza Lesufi, mostly known as the spokesperson for Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga and a member of the Gauteng ANC provincial executive committee, recently wrote an opinion piece in which he urged the ANC to reconsider its decision to expel Malema. He also urged Malema to return to the ruling party.

Well grounded The ANC distanced itself from the call, but it is known that what partly motivated Lesufi’s call was the reception he saw the ANC getting in many communities on the East Rand. In door-to-door campaigns in the townships of Thokoza, Katlehong, Tembisa and others, the ANC regional leadership met families who openly expressed support for Malema. Most ANC members dis-agreed with Lesufi’s argument on the basis that Malema had not shown contrition after his expulsion.

The ANC’s own internal surveys last year – even before the EFF was formed – were already indicating that the party might shed some votes next year. It is not known whether the formation of the EFF could compound those concerns.

Malema had a spring in his step this week after the EFF won four seats in the University of Limpopo SRC elections. The EFF performed even better than the ANC Youth League, but was beaten by another ANC-aligned structure, the South African Students Congress, which won seven seats. The youth league won three seats.

The EFF claims to be well grounded in Limpopo, where many structures that used to support Malema and ousted premier Cassel Mathale were disbanded by the interim provincial leadership of the ANC. The EFF is actively recruiting in those structures.

ANC president Jacob Zuma has visited Limpopo several times recently. He went to a church in Giyani last Sunday, and then returned to the area on Tuesday to open a new road.

The ANC will say with great confidence that Malema does not constitute a threat and dismiss his bluster that they are running scared of him. But there is enough to suggest it will have to take note of him as a possible threat to its majority.


Rapule Tabane is the Mail & Guardian’s politics editor.